UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Wylie

It’s a Level Playing Field at Lake Mead

It’s a Level Playing Field at Lake Mead

The Costa FLW Series hasn’t made its way to Lake Mead for a Western Division event since 2007, and while a lot has changed in the 12 years since, it’s as good a fishery as ever, especially for anglers who know how to effectively break down such a big body of water.

The Western Division kicks off its season with the event on Mead, which is presented by Ranger Boats, on Feb. 28. It’s been cold out west, or at least colder than usual for this time of year. As a result, bass in Mead are in a prespawn holding pattern, which should open the door for a multitude of approaches and patterns — provided anglers don’t get too intimidated by the 158,000-plus surface acres of water the fishery holds.

Complete details

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

If you’re going to talk to anyone about what to expect on a Western lake, Joe Uribe Jr. is probably your best bet for the best information. Uribe has been fishing the Costa FLW Series since 2011 and hasn’t finished below 16th place in Western Division Angler of the Year standings in that span. Six of his eight years fishing the circuit resulted in top-five finishes in the standings, including an AOY title in 2015.

Mead is also the lake were Uribe got his start in earnest as a boater.

“I cut my teeth at Lake Mead back in 2003 when I first started fishing on the pro side,” he says. “I would have to attribute a lot of my success to that lake. It’s kind of helped shape me to fish a lot smarter and more conservative.

“You’ve got so many different elements at that lake that really test your skills — boat-handling skills, equipment, your mental game. It’s a great tournament lake. It’s a very even playing field there. Just because you live there doesn’t mean you’re going to be favored to win; a lot of times it works against you.”

Because of Mead’s size, Uribe tends to break the lake down basin by basin, essentially chopping the fishery into a bunch of smaller lakes. Each section fishes a little differently, but the overall approach is going to be fairly uniform across the tournament field, assuming anglers don’t try to do too much.

“It’s going to be a lot of fish management,” Uribe adds. “Marking your areas and locating the fish, figuring out how to make a few of them bite. But then you’ve got the wind as a factor. That’s going to be the biggest curveball there. If you get a north wind, it’s going to really inhibit anglers from getting to where they want to go and fish it how they want to.”

Lake Mead is the epitome of a clear-water lake. It’s been cold lately, and with lower temperatures comes even clearer water — 30 to 40 feet of visibility, according to Uribe. Anglers are going to be able to find fish with their eyes alone fairly easily, but getting them to bite will be a different story. Shallow fish in ultra-clear water generally means easily spooked fish that aren’t necessarily easy to entice to bite.

Uribe figures it's best to temper expectations for weight totals. He expects the winning weight to be around 36 pounds for the three days.

“I would say probably 12 pounds a day to win,” he estimates. “As little as that sounds, 12 pounds is being pretty generous, because someone can catch 15 pounds one day and then come in with one fish the next day. That’s how that lake fishes.

“The quality of fish is going to be pretty good. If you can get a limit and then try to capitalize on that and get a kicker of 3 to 5 pounds, that’s going to be huge.”

 

PATTERNS TO WATCH

Prespawn on Mead is a great time to catch big fish, but even prespawn largemouths might not be enough to get it done in the Western Division opener.

“The smallmouths, I think, are going to be a real big player in this event because they don’t mind the colder temperatures,” Uribe says. “I’ve caught several over 4 or 4 1/2 pounds in that lake. I think we might see a couple of those. Guys who can mix it up with smallmouths and largemouths, I think that’s what you’re going to have to do.”

Drop-shots and tubes are always big players on Western lakes, especially when targeting smallmouths, but the predominant pattern is still probably going to involve targeting shallow largemouths relating to structure in clear water. Mead is a desert lake with all the typical desert lake features — brush, boulders and small ledges, mostly. Targeting those areas might be the meal ticket for the winning angler and co-angler.

“I think the best, most productive bait in this tournament is going to be a jig,” Uribe says. “If you can catch five a day on a jig, I think you’re going to win the tournament. Because it’s prespawn, the fish are going to be feeding on crawdads this time of the year. Most of the shad are going to be deep. It’s got a lot of rocky contours and ledges. A heavier jig fished effectively is going to be good.

“If the wind picks up, reaction baits like a spinnerbait, ChatterBait and crankbait are going to be a key player in this event as well.”

 

A LONG TIME COMING

The Costa FLW Series Western Division last visited Lake Mead in 2007, and just two times before that: 2003 and 2005. Those tournaments were all four-day events, and weight totals were a little below what Uribe expects this time around. In February 2007, Jeff Michels won with 31 pounds, 11 ounces. Thanh Le won it in April 2005 with 41-05, and Sean Minderman took the win in March 2003 with 31-15.

But much has changed for Mead in the years since, including the smallmouth boom that has resulted in a lot of quality bronzebacks being pulled from its waters in recent years. And even prior to those previous Costa FLW Series events, Mead was home to the current Nevada record largemouth of 12 pounds, landed in 1999. There are big fish to be had. It’ll just come down to time, water and fish management to put it all together.

 

Details

The Lake Mead Costa FLW Series tournament runs Feb. 28-March 2, and the City of Henderson Department of Cultural Arts and Tourism will host the event. Takeoff and weigh-in will take place at Callville Bay Forever Resorts, with weigh-ins streamed live on FLWFishing.com at 2:30 p.m. PT each day.

Complete details

Tags: lake-mead  -drop-shot  tube  spinnerbait  chatterbait  smallmouth  largemouth  bass  justin-onslow  pre-tournament  2019-02-28-lake-mead 

AOY Update: Lake Martin

AOY Update: Lake Martin

Through three events of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, second-year pro and 2019 Polaris Rookie of the Year Ron Nelson remains atop the Angler of the Year standings after a second-place finish at Lake Martin. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Martin

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Martin

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop goes down this week at Lake Martin in Alexander City, Ala. Here's how you can watch the action live. READ MORE »

Practice Report: Lake Martin

Practice Report: Lake Martin

March in Alabama can be boom or bust in terms of weather, but luckily this week’s forecast calls for mostly gorgeous springtime weather for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin. READ MORE »

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 3

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 3

It was another slow morning on Lake Havasu at the Toyota Series Western Division opener. Though, that was to be expected. Most of the top 10 pros have had their best luck in the middle of the day and early afternoon. Mornings have been tough. READ MORE »

Bradenton’s Batson Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Lake Toho

Bradenton’s Batson Wins Phoenix Bass Fishing League Event on Lake Toho

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Boater Clay Batson of Bradenton, Florida, brought a huge five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 34 pounds, 8 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Florida. For his victory, Batson earned a total of... READ MORE »

Big Weights Headline FLW South Africa Event

Big Weights Headline FLW South Africa Event

With 38.03 pounds, the duo of Robbie Olivier and Neels Beneke of Team Gamakatsu Outdoors 365 took home the hardware in the FLW South Africa KZN Region Cast-for-Cash tournament on Feb. 20. Their five-fish limit was more than 12 pounds heavier than the second-place stringer (25.39 pounds) weighed in by Marc Meyer and Oliver Field of Team Stoner Farm. READ MORE »

Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

MLF pro Marty Robinson maintained his lead after day two of competition on Lake Hartwell in the Toyota Series Eastern Division opener. His primary pattern of fishing shallow water ditches for largemouth helped him maintain his lead, but the rest of the pack is slowly gaining. Here’s how the rest of the top five fared on day two. READ MORE »

Robinson Still on Top at Hartwell

Robinson Still on Top at Hartwell

Despite tough and everchanging conditions that quelled his bite on day two of the Toyota Series Eastern Division opener on Lake Hartwell, Marty Robinson still has the lead. The MLF Bass Pro Tour pro, who hails from Lyman, S.C., was the only angler to weigh in more than 20 pounds on day one (21-1), but slick conditions and seem to have hurt his bite on day two. He weighed in a five-fish limit of 14 pounds, 9 ounces on Wednesday to retain the lead. READ MORE »

Hartwell Midday Update – Day 2

Hartwell Midday Update – Day 2

At least as of lunchtime on day two of the three-day Toyota Series Eastern Division opener on Lake Hartwell, rain showers have held off, allowing the full field of competitors to get down to business. The mild temperatures, overcast skies and lights winds seem to agree with the fish as well. READ MORE »

An Okeechobee Slugfest Could Happen

An Okeechobee Slugfest Could Happen

Pre-tournament optimism can be hard to find, but this year, if the weather holds, the fishing might be really good for the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

College Open Prize Pool Bigger than Ever

College Open Prize Pool Bigger than Ever

The annual Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open returns to Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in mid-March for the sixth consecutive season. This time around, however, the stakes are even higher, as teams compete for a brand-new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat, 20 spots in the 2021 National Championship and 20 spots in the all-new Major League Fishing College Faceoff presented by Wiley X in Raleigh, N.C., later this spring. READ MORE »

Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Hartwell Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

With the first day of competition in the books for the Toyota Series Eastern Division tournament on Lake Hartwell, a strong mid-lake pattern seems to be the norm for all of the top 5 anglers and many others in the field. READ MORE »

Robinson Grabs Lead on Hartwell

Robinson Grabs Lead on Hartwell

Marty Robinson, who hails from Lyman, S.C., was the only angler in the 102-boat field to top the 20-pound mark on day one of the Toyota Series Eastern Division opener on Lake Hartwell, and he enters day two with a 2-pound, 14-ounce lead over second-place pro Dustin Henson. READ MORE »

Hartwell Midday Update – Day 1

Hartwell Midday Update – Day 1

The first day of the Toyota Series Eastern Division tournament on Lake Hartwell rolled out to much the same weather as many days so far in 2020 across upstate South Carolina. Drizzly rain at takeoff turned into scattered showers throughout the day with dense areas of fog throughout most of the morning. READ MORE »

Volunteer Division Starts on Douglas

Volunteer Division Starts on Douglas

The kickoff event of the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Volunteer Division takes place on Douglas Lake on March 7. One of the most scenic lakes in the country, Douglas promises some good prespawn fishing. READ MORE »

It’s Anyone’s Game on Overfull Hartwell

It’s Anyone’s Game on Overfull Hartwell

South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell kicks off the 2020 Toyota Series Eastern Division season this week with a three-day, mid-week showdown of the area’s best bass anglers, hosted by Visit Oconee South Carolina. Hartwell definitely has the potential to produce 20-plus-pound bags, but Mother Nature has decided to create some havoc with lake levels this winter, and it’s anyone’s guess as to how well the fishery shows out. READ MORE »

Red-Hot Spawn Bite Expected at Havasu

Red-Hot Spawn Bite Expected at Havasu

Spawning bass and spring break will be the story lines at the Toyota Series Western Division opener at Lake Havasu in mid-March. Well, OK … the spawning bass will certainly be the main focus of the anglers. But dealing with traffic from pleasure boaters will definitely contribute to the pros’ decision-making, particularly on the weekend.  READ MORE »

Kritsberg Hits Jackpot With Strickland Mega-Bag

Kritsberg Hits Jackpot With Strickland Mega-Bag

Warren “Butch” Kritsberg has only lived in Florida for a few years, and he’s still learning a lot about fishing the Harris Chain of Lakes. Fortunately, he now has a lot of new intel about where and how to catch giants after riding along with Laramy Strickland on the second tournament day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event, which was presented by Bad Boy Mowers. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Top 10 Patterns from the Harris Chain

Each day of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain of Lakes was markedly different from the day prior. Most of the field struggled a bit, and the final 30 anglers were left scrambling to figure out how to find and catch fish in the post-frontal conditions that are often so detrimental for Florida largemouths.  READ MORE »

Prespawn Showdown Coming to Ross Barnett

Prespawn Showdown Coming to Ross Barnett

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine kicks off its 2020 Mississippi Division schedule at Ross Barnett Reservoir on March 7. Ross Barnett is an annual early season stop for FLW and the first crack at gaining essential points in the race to qualify for this fall’s Regional. This time around, anglers might have to navigate tricky conditions due to a wet and rainy winter. READ MORE »